You may have probably heard of Stradivari, and maybe seen his million-dollar Stradivarius violin in museums. But have you ever wondered why Stradivari was able to make such beautiful and famous violins that almost all violinists in the world want to piece of it?
You will find the answer to the secrets of the Stradivarius violin.
Who is Stradivari?
Antonio Stradivari (commonly known as Stradivari), is one of the world’s famous violin maker in history. He was born in 1644 in Cremona, Italy (same birth place as Amati). He is believed to pick up his Stradivarius violin making skills under Nicolo Amati in the 1660s, the grandson of the the first violin maker in the world, Andrea Amati.
Guarneri was also one of Amati’s disciples, who later become one of Stradivari’s rivals in making world’s best violins.
He made his first ever violin in 1666, under the tutelage of Nicolo, when he was 22. While learning Nicolo’s traditional Amati violin making techniques, Stradivari improved the techniques and created his personal unique style for making his Stradivarius violins.
Stradivarius committed almost 70 years of his life to making and perfecting his violins. He has made over 1000 string instruments throughout his life, while only about 650 still exists today. It is believed that he made his well-known violins in his attic, where he tested and experimented with the tone and design of his Stradivarius violins.
A statue of Stradivari passing down his exceptional violin skills to future generations.
Monteverdi, Cremona. Credit: frankfl
He continued his works on making and refining Stradivarius violins and other stringed instruments, but the number of works decreased over the years. He carved his last piece of instrument at age 93, when he died.
His 2 sons, Francesco and Omobono joined their father’s trade in Stradivarius violin making, but none have reached and achieved their father’s first class standard.
The Stradivarius Violin
Violins made by Stradivari are commonly known as Stradivarius, or the Strad. Till today, they are considered one of the finest violins in the world, after over 300 years since its creation. Most of the Stradivarius violins exists today are played by distinguished violinists, owned by collectors, or housed in museums.
Some of the most priced Stradivarius violins were made during Stradivari’s ‘golden years‘ from 1700 to 1725. Within these years, he perfected the violins, and define the new standards of violin models for future violin makers.
One of Stradivari’s famous work, the Messiah.
In Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England. Credit: dumbledad
The two famous Strad made during his golden years – Lipinski (1715) and the Messiah (1716).
Stradivari’s unique creation of the Stradivarius violin have led to many modern violin makers creating replicas of the original Strad, in hope of matching the original Stradivarius violin’s design and powerful tone.
The Million Dollar Stradivarius Violin
Stradivarius violins are worth from hundred of thousands to millions of dollars today. Many Strads are auctioned and sold at world-record prices.
The Strads which have been auctioned for over a million US dollars include:
- The Hammer – US$3.54 million in 2006
- Solomon Ex-Lambert – US$2.73 million in 2007
- Lady Tennnat – US$2.03 million in 2005
- The Red Mendelssohn – US$1.69 million in 1990
- Kreutzer Strad – US$1.58 million in 1998
- Taft – US$1.33 million in 2000
Stradivarius Violin In The News!
Most recently in 2010 and 2011, two Stradivarius violins hit the news headlines for auctioning at world record prices.
The “Monlitor” Stradivarius violin – Rumoured to be owned by Napoleon Bonaparte, was purchased by Austin-based violinist Anne Akiko Meyers on October 2010, for a record value of US$3.6 million. The Strad was sold online by Tarisio Auctions. More info here.
The “Lady Blunt” Stradivarius violin – was auctioned in June 2011 for a record price of US$16 million. This is almost 4 times the amount paid for the previous world-record price. This 1721 Strad was sold by Nippon Music Foundation in an online London auction hosted by Tarisio, with all proceeds to aid Japan’s relief efforts from March 11 tsunami and earthquake. More info here.